"Instead of O.J., I would have preferred a cover photo of the dedicated athletes Gary Smith wrote of—the 14 record-breaking milers."
LEWIS G. BLOOM, OLYMPIA, WASH.
The Milers Convene
I was uplifted by the account of the gathering of 14 world-record milers, including Roger Bannister, who broke the four-minute barrier in 1954 (An Exclusive Club, June 27). I've followed track since '45 and recall reading about many of these records. Good health and long lives to these exemplary men.
DAVID CRIPE, Campbell, Calif.
I was a spectator near the finish line in Malm‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√á Stadium on July 17, 1945, and saw Gunder H‚Äö√†√∂¬¨√ügg win the mile in 4:01.4, 1.2 seconds under the previous world record, held by his countryman Arne Andersson. Behind H‚Äö√†√∂¬¨√ügg was Andersson, in 4:02.2. Immediately after crossing the finish, Andersson went to his wife, Karin, and showed her the sole of his right shoe. Lodged between the spikes was an empty cartridge from the starter's gun.
H‚Äö√†√∂¬¨√ügg and Andersson competed against each other 24 times, with H‚Äö√†√∂¬¨√ügg winning 15 of the races. But Andersson won seven of their nine races in 1944 and '45, by an average of 1.46 seconds. Had it not been for the lodged cartridge shell, Andersson certainly would have won that race, too, bettering his own record—and possibly breaking four minutes. Andersson always discouraged this kind of hypothesizing, but he cannot prevent me from dreaming. Alter all, he stepped on that cartridge with three laps to go, and it obviously caused him great difficulty.
When these two giants met, the stadiums were filled and the air was electrifying. Gunder the Wunder was a natural runner with a marvelously smooth style. Andersson had to work hard to harness his powerful, swaggering stride. In all, H‚Äö√†√∂¬¨√ügg set 15 world marks, three of them in the mile. The Gunder-Arne years are considered the golden age of Swedish track and field.
FRED SMEDBERG, S‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√ádert‚Äö√†√∂¬¨√ülje, Sweden
I was disappointed with your coverage of Ryne Sandberg's retirement. I needed a magnifying glass to find the few paragraphs you devoted to him (SCORECARD, June 20). Defensively, Sandberg was the best. Offensively, he was right up there with the greats. He's sure to be a first-time Hall of lame inductee. He deserved a better send-off.
STEVE POLLIZZE, Morton Grove, Ill.
The Indians' recent home winning streak included four games that ended with a home run (INSIDE BASEBALL, June 27). That's amazing. I think it's time we start recording these heroic efforts as an official statistic, as Japanese baseball has done for years. The Japanese name for the feat: the sayonara home run. It would be interesting to know who holds the single-season and career major league records for sayonara home runs. Are Bill Mazeroski, Kirk Gibson and Joe Carter the only players who have hit sayonara homers in the World Series?
PAUL HURLEY, Huntington Woods, Mich.
•No records of game-ending home runs are kept for the regular season. Mazeroski (1960) and Carter ('93) are the only players whose homers brought World Series to an end, while Gibson's blast ended Game 1 of the 1988 Series. Six others have also ended World Series games with home runs: Tommy Henrich ('49), Dusty Rhodes ('54), Eddie Mathews ('57), Mickey Mantle ('64), Carlton Fisk ('75) and Kirby Puckett ('91).—ED.
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